Multitudes of South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) Gauteng members joined by members from the tripartite alliance marched earlier today to hand over a memorandum to the chairperson of the Hoërskool Overvaal school governing body to demand the placement of 55 grade 8 learners.
Representatives from head office and district offices were also present to receive the memorandum, according to Sadtu’s Tseliso Ledimo.
“I think the march was successful and incident-free. The chairperson of the school’s SGB came to receive the memorandum, albeit initially reluctant. But he did come to receive it eventually. Also in attendance were officials from head-office and the district office. We have given the school seven working days within which to respond to our demands,” said Ledimo.
He said they invited members of the tripartite alliance because this was not only an educational issue but also a community matter. He said the presence of the unions added to weight to their demands.
Asked what will happen if the school did not respond within the prescribed time, Ledimo told Inside Education that they would pile on the pressure.
“Remember this is a rolling campaign, we will not stop until the SGB has reconsidered its position on our demand,” he said.
Regarding the potential impact the march will have on teaching and learning at the school, Ledimo said: “this is a fundamental transformation issue in the country. We take this matter [the continued use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction) seriously. It carries the same significance as the June 1976 Soweto uprising.”
Yesterday the union told Inside Education that Hoërskool Overvaal was using the lack of capacity as a pretext to exclude kids who do not speak Afrikaans. It was said according to its investigations, the school had enough capacity to accommodate the 55 grade 8 learners. It further said the school is a public asset and must admit learners who live in the vicinity of the school instead of them travelling long distances to attend English medium schools.
Gauteng education department’s spokesperson, Steve Mabona, has reportedly warned the marchers to tread carefully as their actions may impact negatively on the learning and teaching.
“Disruption or bullying, is not taking us anywhere. We will call on all members of the community to say if we have issues raised, we just have to bear in mind that when we take a day from our learners or educators, this must have a recovery plan,” Mabona told EWN on Thursday.